Lake County Ohio GenWeb

Sanford D. Barber

This biography is taken from Biographical History of Northeastern Ohio, Embracing the counties of Ashtabula, Geauga and Lake; Lewis Publishing Company, 1893.

Transcribed and submitted by Becky Falin, 1996.

Sanford D. Barber, the efficient and popular Sheriff of Lake county, Ohio, residing in Painesville, was born in Kirtland, this county, November 14, 1847. The Barber family is one of the oldest in the State, the father of the subject of this sketch having been born in Ohio in an early day. When but two years of age, Sanford Barber accompanied his parents to Madison township, Lake county, where he was reared and educated, attending the district schools. The earliest thrilling adventure of his boyhood occurred in this wise: He with others had been accustomed to setting lines in the lake at night for catfish, and in June, 1858, when eleven years of age, he with an elder brother Dwight, and an old man named Parker, rowed in a skiff a mile from shore to set some lines. After effecting their object they started for shore, and when within a half-mile of their destination their boat was struck by a south-east wind, and an oar, which was hand-made and frail, broke, leaving them to the mercy of wind and waves. This was about one o'clock in the afternoon, and they drifted about all day and night and until sundown the next day. Every wave left its quota of water in the boat, and they took turns during the long day and night in bailing it out and endeavoring to keep the frail bark afloat. The waves rolled high and thoroughly drenched the occupants of the boat, while they were nearly famished from lack of food and exhausted from sleeplessness. Just before sundown on the secondday they were sighted by the captain of the schooner George Davis, who was bound from Buffalo to Detroit, and who saw them through his scanning glass. He at first thought the floating object was a log, but on looking closer fancied he could discern a man, so he directed his course toward them and took them on board. They had then drifted eighty-five miles from shore. Two days later they were in Detroit, Michigan, with but 35 cents between them. They traded the old skiff to a captain of a boat bound for Cleveland, who in turn brought them to that city. From there they were furnished railroad passes to Madison, and on their return home found preparations made for preaching their funeral sermon the following day, the people of Madison having in the meantime rigged a sailboat and scoured this side of the lake in search of the missing ones, and, not find any trace of them, had given them up for lost.

At the time of the war, the subject of this sketch enlisted, August 23, 1862, being then but sixteen years old, in Company M, of the Second Ohio Heavy Artillery. Four of his brothers were in the war, two of them whom were killed, and he also determined to enlist, and after several attempts he succeeded, although not then old enough. He was in the Army of the Cumberland, and experienced much active service; was in the battle of Knoxville and in the almost continuous fighting from there to Chattanooga. One of his brothers was killed at Atlanta, and the other at Cross Lanes, Virginia. Mr. Barber srved in the army until September 1, 1865, and was then mustered out at Columbus, Ohio.

He then returned to Madison, and in 1867 became a brakeman on the Lake Shore Railroad, where he remained on eyear, and then accepted a position on the Atlantic & Great Western Railway, on which he served as both freight and passenger conductor for fourteen years. He was then employed on the Lake Shore Railway for a short time, when he was appointed City Marshal of Painesville, and was re-elected several times to the same position. He was serving his third term in the latter capacity when, in 1892, he was elected to Sheriff of the county. He assumed the duties of this office, January 2, 1893, and is now filling the responsible position with his customary ability and energy.

October 7, 1870, he was married to Miss Lizzie V. Rust, a lady of domestic tastes, a native of Concord township, Lake county, and they have two children: Louis C and Erma D.

In politics Mr. Barber is a Republican. As a citizen he is progressive and public-spirited, of unimpeachable honor and genial personality, and enjoys the respect of all who know him.

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